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Generic Name: tyrosine (TYE roe seen)
Brand Name: L-Tyrosine

What is tyrosine?

Tyrosine is an amino acid, which is a building block of protein that occurs naturally in the body. Tyrosine can also be found in certain foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, oats, and wheat.

Some people have low levels of tyrosine in their bodies because of a hereditary condition called phenylketonuria (PKU). In people with PKU, the body cannot process an amino acid called phenylalanine, which the body needs to produce tyrosine.

Tyrosine is given as a supplement to increase tyrosine levels in people with PKU.

Tyrosine has been used in alternative medicine as a possibly effective aid in improving mental performance, alertness, or memory.

Tyrosine has also been used to treat depression or attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD). However, research has shown that tyrosine may not be effective in treating these conditions. Tyrosine also may not be be effective in improving exercise performance.

Other uses not proven with research have included dementia, high blood pressure, narcolepsy, schizophrenia, weight loss, premenstrual syndrome, Parkinson's disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, alcoholism, cocaine addiction, and other conditions.

It is not certain whether tyrosine is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA. Tyrosine should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Tyrosine is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Tyrosine may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.

What is the most important information I should know about tyrosine?

Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking tyrosine?

Before using tyrosine, talk to your healthcare provider. You may not be able to use tyrosine if you have certain medical conditions, especially:

  • overactive thyroid; or

  • Graves disease.

It is not known whether tyrosine will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether tyrosine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice.

How should I take tyrosine?

When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.

If you choose to use tyrosine, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.

Your dose of tyrosine will depend on the amount of protein you consume in your diet. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

Tyrosine is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include a special diet. Follow the diet plan created for you by your doctor or nutrition counselor. Get familiar with the list of foods you must eat or avoid to help control your condition.

Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with tyrosine does not improve, or if it gets worse while using this product.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra tyrosine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking tyrosine?

Follow your healthcare provider's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Tyrosine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Although not all side effects are known, tyrosine is thought to be likely safe in most adults when taken for up to 3 months.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, heartburn;

  • headache;

  • joint pain; or

  • feeling tired.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect tyrosine?

Do not take tyrosine without medical advice if you are using any of the following medications:

  • levodopa; or

  • thyroid replacement (Synthroid, Levothroid, and others).

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with tyrosine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this product guide.

More about tyrosine

Consumer resources

Where can I get more information?

  • Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before using any herbal/health supplement. Whether you are treated by a medical doctor or a practitioner trained in the use of natural medicines/supplements, make sure all your healthcare providers know about all of your medical conditions and treatments.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.01.

Date modified: October 14, 2016
Last reviewed: April 12, 2016